There was this main challenge of managing leadership of CPN-UML Chairman KP Oli and CPN (Maoist Center) Chairman Pushpa Kama Dahal right from the time of starting unification process.
Both of them were not just national and international personalities, but also had legitimate aspirations and capacity.
Party unification was not possible without managing those aspirations. There were also ideological and organizational questions about party unification. But the trickiest question was about leadership management.
Oli and Dahal have now sought a win-win solution for both of them making party unification possible.
UML Chairman Oli will now lead the government of the unified communist party for five years. Dahal gave the statement in Chitwan Tuesday about Oli continuing as the Prime Minister (PM) for five years stepping on that formula.
The general convention of unification will not be convened for at least one and a half year. Both Oli and Dahal will remain party chairman during this period. Oli will complete his five-year term as party chairman by then.
The general convention of unification will be convened after Oli completes his term as chairman. There will be no election in that general convention. Both the chairmen have agreed on that. The main leaders of both the parties know that. The seven-point agreement signed between the two parties on Monday has clearly hinted that the general convention of unification will be completed with consensus without holding election.
Oli has given words to make Dahal consensus chairman through the general convention. Oli and Dahal jointly will command a majority in the unified party. Nobody else can stop Dahal from becoming chairman as long as Oli supports him.
Dahal will not claim for PM until Oli government completes the five-year term around three years after Dahal becomes chairman. Oli will probably not claim for PM in the general election to be held after that.
A win for the unified party in that general election will pave the way for Dahal to become PM again. The opposition will find it difficult to defeat such a big unified party that has secured over 50 percent popular votes in the recent election after just one term. Dahal, therefore, has a chance of again becoming PM. He can negotiate with his successors about becoming PM and then quitting the party chairmanship after two years.
Oli and Dahal in this manner have almost secured the posts of PM and chairman for five years. This is a matter of huge achievement and satisfaction for both the leaders in the twilight of their careers.
Oli wil be established among great Nepali politicians when he retires after leading a strong majority government of unified communist party for five years, and taking credit for establishing a strong left party in the country through unification of two parties and building dignified relation with the neighbors by not bowing down to India during the blockade. He will leave behind an enviable legacy.
The achievements of Dahal, on the other hand, will also not be mean. Having started his left politics with a small group, he will get his success established in both armed and peaceful politics.
Nobody had even imagined before the recent local election that he will become chairman of the largest left party in the country’s history within a couple of years. “Nepali Congress will be reduced to half and Maoists will be finished,” went the slogan of UML leaders then.
But even UML, and not just Maoist Center, will now be finished, and Dahal will become chairman of the powerful unified left party.
Dahal has established himself as a successful politician through his skills, capacity and big dreams. His political capacity and achievement after being elected chairman of the big unified party will be envied by many even if there may be differences about his political legacy.
The formula that Oli and Dahal found to establish their respective leadership and role in the twilight of their political careers has made unification of UML and Maoist Center possible.